Dave Kerpen, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in New York, is co-founder and co-CEO of Apprentice, a platform that connects entrepreneurs with bright, motivated college students for a win-win that helps businesses find great talent while empowering college students with access to high-level entrepreneurs. We asked Dave how he conquered the all-important but sometimes daunting step of delegating tasks. Here's what he shared.
As an entrepreneur who recently sold my first company, I've watched many of my peers grow their companies by leaps and bounds, while others struggle to scale their operations. While the reasons for this vary, one common factor in companies that struggle to scale is that their leader can't or won't delegate tasks. When a leader's time is consumed by daily tasks that keep the business running, they're unable to focus on the big-picture ideas that can help it grow.
Here are five tips that have helped me learn to delegate better:
Work on Your Mindset, Letting Go, and Trusting Others
Before you can even think about tools for delegation, you have to work on your own mindset. Are you able to let go of control and trust others?
Yes, it's probably true that nobody can do the job as well as you can. However, if you insist upon doing every job yourself, you'll never be able to scale. Practice the fine art of letting go of control and trusting others to do the work. Sure, sometimes they'll make mistakes, but they'll learn, and eventually, they'll get it right.
Move Beyond Fear
I mentioned how important mindset is. Fear is what often holds us back, and in this case, fear of making big mistakes, losing a client, and other disastrous outcomes keeps us from proper delegation.
Yes, it's scary. But it's also super important to feel that fear and do it anyway. When you muster the courage to give others the opportunity to shine and, yes, the chance to make mistakes, the vast majority of the time, they shine. Once you get over your fears, you can properly delegate.
Hire the Right People
In order to delegate well, you have to get the right people in the right seats. Is it a senior-level person you need? Perhaps it's a more junior-level person who is nonetheless super capable and driven. Keep an open mind. Regardless, in order to delegate well, it's essential to hire the right people to delegate to.
Use the Proper Tools
Now that you've adopted the right mindset, it's time to choose the right tools. Here are some tools I've implemented to improve my delegation:
- Asana is a project management tool with high customization and multiple features to ensure you and your team are "rowing in the same direction."
- Google Docs is a fan favorite for many reasons. With its free interface and easy-to-learn system, Google Docs is a valuable resource to make sure everyone on your team is connected.
- Monday is an excellent management platform that helps you build and scale workflows all in one place. Built-in time tracking and visualization features make this tool one of my favorites.
- Trello is an easy-to-start tool that lets you see who's doing what with one glance. It has an appealing interface and the ability to organize tasks with detailed cards. Add video, pictures, or whatever else you may need to ensure everyone knows exactly what they need to do.
Coach and Follow Up
In order to continuously improve your delegation skills, be sure to coach your people (versus manage them) and follow up. I like to give employees what I call a praise sandwich--remind them what they did well, help them see what they can do better next time, and reiterate how valuable they are to the organization and me.
With the right mindset, the right tools, and the right follow-up, you can learn to delegate your tasks, allowing you to focus on the most critical tasks you have as a leader--building and scaling your business.